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4 years after daughter’s suicide, mother again blasts Dentsu in letter

18 Comments

Four years after her daughter committed suicide on Christmas Day, Yukimi Takahashi released a letter in which she again blasted her daughter’s employer, advertising giant Dentsu, for illegally making some of its employees work excessive amounts of overtime.

Dentsu received a warning from the labor ministry in September, two years after being found to have violated the Labor Standards Act by forcing employees to work grueling long hours—in many cases, unpaid, which led to the suicide of Matsuri Takahashi, 24, on Dec 25, 2015.

Takahashi committed suicide by jumping from a company dormitory. Her suicide was attributed to stress from overwork.

In the letter released to the media on Wednesday, the anniversary of her daughter’s death, Yukimi said: “Another Christmas spent without Matsuri has come to an end. No matter how much time passes, the sadness of losing my daughter will never be eased.”

Referring to the latest warning issued to Dentsu, Takahashi wrote: “I feel as if my daughter’s life and dignity have been trampled on once again by Dentsu. The Japanese government should take stronger preventative measures and treat this issue with a greater sense of crisis.”

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18 Comments
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An absolute tragedy.

She must be hurting so much.

Dentsu was punished with a paltry ¥500,000 fine for driving her daughter to suicide and in September received a mere slap on the wrist for almost doing it again.

The caste system is alive and well in Japan.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

And their profits were up 1 trillion yen last year...

8 ( +8 / -0 )

She should also reflect on why her daughter chose death over a change of job.

-22 ( +6 / -28 )

Referring to the latest warning issued to Dentsu, Takahashi wrote: “I feel as if my daughter’s life and dignity have been trampled on once again by Dentsu. The Japanese government should take stronger preventative measures and treat this issue with a greater sense of crisis.”

Dentsu is unbelievable. Caused suicide, and STILL doing the same shady stuff. Heads should roll, or it will never stop.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Dentsu management responsible for her death and recent abuses ought to be paraded on national TV and shamed before the whole nation.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Why not take this to the UN Court of Human Rights. Japan need not be regarded as first world when overworking young people to death. The Mother would get more global press and reaction from that court. Rest In Peace.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The government itself still continues to give Dentsu a lot of work, them cleaning up on the Olympics contracts being a case in point. If the government were actually serious about punishing them, they would've barred Dentsu from government contracts. But they never were serious, they just wanted to make a symbolic gesture, then get back to business as usual.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Sad to say but Dentsu is probably untouchable; their tentacles run deep in government and they are the major player in advertising, which is the lifeblood of any mass media. And with the Olympics coming up next year, they’re probably stronger and richer than ever. The only thing I can think of is for new college graduates to consider very, very carefully about which companies they apply to. If Dentsu can’t get top level recruits due to their reputation, they might change their ways. Might.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It seem that suicide is being used as a cop out, for some Japanese, life it self is stressful, their is a old saying, trying to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody,you can only do your human best by doing what, you possible can do under your given circumstances, people know they are dying soon, they fight death too their last dying breathe

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Her death was cause by her inability to deal with her situation, excessive overtime being a major factor in her stress. Bad choice.. quit? Ask for reassignment? Take medical leave? Or jump off the roof?

The other 62,608 Dentsu employees managed to NOT kill themselves but continued working and getting the very large salaries they were promised when they signed up KNOWING FULL WELL THE WORK SCHEDULE AT DENTSU.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

@SpitfireToday 04:17 pm JST

Dentsu was punished with a paltry ¥500,000 fine for driving her daughter to suicide and in September received a mere slap on the wrist for almost doing it again.

To be fair ... Japan doesn't use socialized liability (and before you say it is great, socialized liability is used in China), so in principle all entities are equal in front of the law and pay similar prices for the same wrongs.

While five hundred thousand yen may seem paltry, that's because Dentsu is large. Imagine if it had been a small company with the same work conditions. Since all entities are equal, it'll be the same five hundred thousand, which might actually be painful. If speaking hypothetically they awarded 5 million or 50 million yen, the same would (or should) go for the small company, which might actually be lethal.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Dentsu emerged from the WWII-era ministry of propaganda/internal affairs, and have major government and corporate advertising accounts. They, like NHK, are the arbiters of what appears in the media. They are politically insulated beyond all measure.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I posted a few post ago, I was not being insensitive, but being constructive,when Japanese realize their is nothing special about being Japanese, but being look upon as individuals and not a group, they will see the world from another perspective and feel they do not have to conform to the group as a whole

4 ( +4 / -0 )

*Dentsu received a warning from the labor ministry in September, two years after being found to have violated the Labor Standards Act by forcing employees to work grueling long hours—in many cases, unpaid, which led to the suicide of Matsuri Takahashi, 24, on Dec 25, 2015.*

Dentsu needs to be fined to the neck for this and any further harm done by that work culture. It also needs to be subject to treble damages in the civil suit the mother should/did pursue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And yet Dentsu is one of the top choices for graduates.. All of whose know what will be expected of them.

If they don’t want the huge salaries and long hours..... Don’t apply.

Its like flight attendants who don’t like flying.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Sad to say but Dentsu is probably untouchable; their tentacles run deep in government and they are the major player in advertising, which is the lifeblood of any mass media.

Dentsu is also the largest advertising agency in the world. Their connections don't just run deep in the Japanese government, but many governments around the globe.

Her death was cause by her inability to deal with her situation, excessive overtime being a major factor in her stress. Bad choice.. quit? Ask for reassignment? Take medical leave? Or jump off the roof?

As much as I hate to admit it, there is a sort of logic here. Being someone who has gone through stress like this woman has, it's very much up to an individuals ability to handle a situation. You can't fault a company when someone decides to take their life because of the sheer workload, you can however fault them for creating an environment where that's a likely outcome (long overtime, not reporting overtime, etc).

Mr Kipling does bring up a good point, the other 60,000 or so Dentsu employees have managed to survive even though they likely have faced the same pressures. On top of that, the work culture at Dentsu has been popular knowledge for a very long time. This is reimbursed by a huge salary(by Japanese standards)

Some people deal with these things differently, and it's a shame that this girl thought the only way out was suicide. But on that note, it's a choice that she made on how to deal with the situation.

I should note that it's not as easy to quit a company as people may think though, they have to accept your leave (but sometimes they won't, so you technically can't work until they do).

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As it is the only punishment is to the faceless corporation with pointless fines, giving the execs little incentive to change things other than the occasional PR hit.

Make managers and executivies personally and criminally responsible and we'll see sweeping chances by the next day!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

she again blasted her daughter’s employer, advertising giant Dentsu, for illegally making some of its employees work excessive amounts of overtime.

I feel for the mother's pain and suffering.  I am sure that the young lady felt that there was nothing that she could do.  But, there is always an option.  One could just quit the job and try to find another.  If things are to the point that one is going to kill themselves for job conditions, then being unemployed and looking for another job is probably not a bad idea. 

I fully understand the mindset sometimes seen in Japan, where seeing someone move from job to job is what they believe a bad indicator, but I guess I am looking at this from a non-Japanese perspective where you do your best, and if it is not working out try to find some other avenue of employment. 

Maybe there were some other reasons and the mother may know but doesn't want to say and uses this company as a crutch for her sanity.  But for those out there contemplating doing something like this because of work, killing oneself is not the answer.  Get help, and hopefully find another job.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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